Best Of The Super Juniors: New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Craziest Tournament, And Why It’s Dividing Wrestling Fans

05.31.16 3 years ago 18 Comments

If you’re on any social-media platform at all, you probably noticed a certain wrestling match getting discussed a lot over the weekend. The match in question is a one-on-one bout from New Japan Pro Wrestling between Ricochet and Will Ospreay, and we’ve already delved into it a bit.

What would normally be a high-profile yet routine match for NJPW ended up generating something of a firestorm among elitist wrestling fans and casual viewers alike. So, now that your Facebook feed is clogged with well-meaning uncles asking if this is “still that stuff you watched when you were a kid,” now might be the perfect time to contextualize all this. Lost in the shuffle of all the discussion is the setting for the Ricochet/Ospreay match… the annual Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Let’s take a closer look.

What is Best of the Super Juniors?

Best of the Super Juniors is the yearly tournament put on by New Japan Pro Wrestling to showcase their junior heavyweight wrestlers. Now in its 23rd year, past winners have included Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Tiger Mask, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, and Finn Balor. In its current format, competitors are split into two groups and must face each other competitor, round-robin style. Points are awarded for victories, and the winners of each group face off in a final match to determine the winner. The overall victor then usually gets a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.

So, is this basically the G1 Climax for junior heavyweights?

Yeah, that’s the right idea. G1 is more of a heavyweight tournament, although junior heavyweights like Kota Ibushi and Jushin Liger have occasionally stepped up to the challenge.

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